H.R. 7195 would create a minimum award for whistleblowers who provide original information that leads to the successful prosecution of money laundering, illegal financial transactions, or other financial crimes. Specifically, the bill would entitle the whistleblower to at least 10 percent of a collected penalty that exceeds $1 million. H.R. 7195 also would establish a new “Financial Integrity Fund” within the Department of the Treasury, that could hold up to $300 million in collections and interest from the fund’s investments, to pay those awards. Under current law, collections are returned to the Treasury and not available for spending unless appropriated.
The Department of Justice is responsible for criminal prosecutions, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is responsible for civil enforcement of financial crimes. Under current law, a whistleblower is eligible for up to 30 percent of a collected penalty for those violations, subject to the availability of appropriated funds. However, the Congress has not appropriated funds for this purpose, so neither agency has made any awards to whistleblowers. Because H.R. 7195 would create a new fund for payments, CBO expects that enacting the bill would result in new payments to whistleblowers that would not be subject to the appropriation of funds.